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  • Teacher's Story:  Mallory Saunders, RYT-200

    Mallory has been an important fixture at OWY since the beginning.  She writes about her inspiring journey below.  Thank you Mallory for your vulnerability and willingness to always look deeper and grow more.  You are an inspiration to our yoga community. -Shannon

    Yoga came in to my life when I needed it the most. I was studying Fine Art at the University of Cincinnati, suffering with debilitating anxiety and depression which stemmed from consuming self-judgment and negative thinking patterns. My self-esteem was crumbling along with my grades and my relationships. I was cold and disconnected from everything and everyone. I isolated myself and became dependent upon others approval for my self worth. At the same time I was completely overwhelmed as waves of repressed emotion and grief started to break to the surface. 

    I lost my older sister Michelle in a car accident at a young age and wasn’t able to process my experience at the time. I found myself suppressing my emotions to appease others. I distracted myself so I didn’t have to feel. Afraid of ever facing that pain again I closed my heart off to deep connection. I grew cold, distant and repressed. I lost touch with myself. At that time I was making unconscious choices, medicating myself with shopping, binge eating, alcohol and marijuana to numb the pain. When I surpassed my older sister in age, the emotion I’d repressed erupted. I hit rock bottom and reached out to my mother, family and friends for help. I started therapy sessions and opted to take yoga classes, focus on lifestyle changes and incorporate alternative therapies into my life rather than take conventional medication. 

    I was 20 years old and terrified to attend yoga classes at my college campus. My body was toxic and at its heaviest. A direct reflection of the feelings I held inside. My anxious mind raced giving me every single excuse and reason not to go. It took literally everything in me to drag myself out of bed and walk alone to the rec center in the winter cold and get to class. I was afraid, but I longed for a change, so I did it anyway. I knew I was lost and I was committed to finding myself again. In the class I was incredibly uncomfortable in my body, but I found out quick that I was even more uncomfortable in my mind, in who I was and who I was becoming. I was observing my mental state, jumpy, reactive and filled with incessant degrading self talk, judgment and comparison. At the end of class we laid in stillness, in presence. The thoughts slowed and I was able to connect with my true self. I realized then how powerful this physical practice was and became invested in going deeper.
    It took me 2 years of trying to create a consistent practice and failing over and over before it really started to feel like an essential part of my life. The benefits were noticeable and significant regardless of my inconsistency. I loved yoga, but often found myself resistant to putting in the effort. I reality I was scared of sitting with myself and really processing the heavy emotions that would surface. I was terrified of the darkest parts of me, but even more so intimidated by the infinite potential I was starting to realize was within me.
    I am a student of Yoga and the past 7 years of practice have led me on an incredible journey of physical and emotional healing, self awareness and inner growth. Through Yoga I found relief from the mental state that was drowning me. I have and continue to create a healthier lifestyle for myself and those around me. I have learned how to accept and process the heavy emotions, anxieties and fears that had accumulated within me and have realized I have only just skimmed the surface of who I am and who I’m meant to be. I’ve peeled back layers and walls that were built up over the years to protect me. I’m learning daily how to open my heart up and live from a space of love, compassion and truth.  By doing so I hope to inspire others and spread this heightened awareness like wildfire. I am a 200HR RYT through Yoga Alliance. I attended the yoga teacher training immersion at Open Way Yoga with Brian and Shannon in 2014. I have been fortunate enough to continue to teach for the studio ever since! Huron is my hometown! I am so honored and grateful to to be able to offer Yoga to our community and to assist in the healing, growth, and expansion of the amazing people in this area! I am a very versatile teacher with the capability of leading all levels of students. These last few years of teaching and I have gained experience instructing everything from restorative to prenatal, kids yoga, yoga flow, body sculpting and hot yoga classes. My classes tend to focus on specific areas of the physical body and often reference correlating energy centers of the subtle body. We work towards gaining control of the inner fluctuations through breath control and movement. Truly finding stillness within the chaos. Encouraging personal growth both on and off the mat through developing strength, flexibility, balance and control. I merge structured postures, with specific vocal cues and combine them with feminine delicate movements as we flow from one posture to the next. I break down challenging positions to make them more digestible, creating a foundation to build upon to advance practice. I will push you to you to the edge of your comfort zone and help your realize you are capable of more!